Through the power of Google Alerts (keywords: blogs in education), I was fed this story today via email. It’s a column from South Carolina’s TheState.com … which I find odd enough itself that I am reading an SC column from my office in Regina, Saskatchewan. The author of the column goes on to support her thesis that society (Americans specifically in her case) are becoming less and less intelligent as people read less and are turning to TV and blogs as alternatives. A part of me (my classical English literature self I gained as an undergraduate, and perhaps my “did Bush really get in TWICE?” self) agrees with her, and I think of Trevelyan’s famous quote (1942) which reads:
“Education … has produced a vast population able to read but unable to distinguish what is worth reading, an easy prey to sensations and cheap appeals.”
However, in saying this … I really don’t think the author has recognized the opportunity multimedia and especially RSS/XML (and related) technologies may present us with. I am very excited at the customized multimedia approaches that are emerging such as Levine’s “Rip, Mix Learn” approach.
Does reading classical literature really make us more intelligent? Well, I agree it doesn’t hurt, but it’s print … it’s static … it’s complete … and it’s a representation from usually only one author. Yes, I will do what the author suggests and go home and read to my child … however, I’m also hoping that when she gets older, she will realize the customizability and the potential impact of blogs, podcasts, moblogging, learning objects, wikis, streaming video-on-demand, RSS ….